Sprache über Sprache

English translation: language that talks about language

16:51 Apr 9, 2005
German to English translations [PRO]
Social Sciences - Philosophy
German term or phrase: Sprache über Sprache
"Tierische Kommunikation gibt Nachricht ueber einen Verhaltenszustand, waehrend Menschensprache darueber hinaus Sprache ueber sprachlich ausdrueckbare Gedanken und Absichten bedeutet. Sie ist also Sprache ueber Sprache, die ueber lediglich Erdachtes zu sprechen erlaubt."

'language about language' doesn't seem to fit here
Scribbler
English translation:language that talks about language
Explanation:
... and allows us to speak about things which exist merely in the mind. It's a roundabout way of describing the human capacity for abstract communication. After all, what use would a mouse or an elephant have for a perfectly answered Kudoz query?
Selected response from:

Victor Dewsbery
Germany
Local time: 05:57
Grading comment
Thanks for the suggestion, although I'm not sure that it encapsulates exactly what the author wants to say, I can't think of a better rendering
3 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +2language that talks about language
Victor Dewsbery
5metalanguage
Daniel Sax
4linguistic communication about linguistic creations/concepts/thoughts
Rolf Bueskens
3 +1a language about a language
Armorel Young
3words on language/words on words
------ (X)


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Sprache ueber Sprache
metalanguage


Explanation:
i.e. language about itself

Daniel Sax
Local time: 05:57
Native speaker of: English

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  muttersprachler: Metalanguage only with respect to communication of animals. Language that is *capable of self reference*.
29 mins

neutral  Ian M-H (X): Perhaps this doesn't fit this context as well as something in 'plain' English (although I don't understand muttersprachler's objection). Why confidence 5?
18 hrs
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12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Sprache ueber Sprache
words on language/words on words


Explanation:
:)

------ (X)
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman, Native in SpanishSpanish
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39 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
Sprache ueber Sprache
language that talks about language


Explanation:
... and allows us to speak about things which exist merely in the mind. It's a roundabout way of describing the human capacity for abstract communication. After all, what use would a mouse or an elephant have for a perfectly answered Kudoz query?

Victor Dewsbery
Germany
Local time: 05:57
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 3
Grading comment
Thanks for the suggestion, although I'm not sure that it encapsulates exactly what the author wants to say, I can't think of a better rendering

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Marc Heinitz: sounds good to me
54 mins

agree  Ian M-H (X): Probably better than "metalanguage" here.
17 hrs
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Sprache ueber Sprache
a language about a language


Explanation:
I think simply inserting "a" makes it clearer. The writer sees "Gedanken und Absichten" - lediglich Erdachtes - as one language, and verbally expressed language as another, so in that sense communication is using one language to talk about another sort of language.

Armorel Young
Local time: 04:57
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 14

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ian M-H (X): Another option that seems better than "metalanguage" in this context.
14 hrs
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Sprache ueber Sprache
linguistic communication about linguistic creations/concepts/thoughts


Explanation:
Cumbersome, compared to the German version, but it conveys the meaning of the original. 'Sprache' is more closely related to 'sprechen' than 'language' is to 'speak'. Thus, the English version should be expanded by adjectives to obtain the implied meaning in the German version.


    Professional experience
Rolf Bueskens
Local time: 13:57
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
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